Scientists in Texas are developing a new Covid vaccine using an old conventional method that will make the vaccination cheaper and more accessible.
The vaccine, called Corbevax, is unique because the team behind it will not be patenting it. It is being developed using a decades-old method, and because of this, the production and distribution will be cheaper, and therefore countries most affected by the pandemic will be able to have better access to it.
The team is led by Drs. Peter Hotez and Maria Bottazzi, both of whom work at the Baylor College of Medicine’s Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development. The team has been developing vaccine prototypes for the diseases Mers and Sars for the past 11 years.
They want their new vaccine Corbevax to be “the world’s Covid vaccine” and accessible to all.
Because they have no intention to patent the vaccine, it means anyone will be allowed to reproduce it. More than 60 other vaccinations are currently in development using the same technology, for example, Hepatitis B vaccinations. The process uses yeast to make the vaccinations.
Pfizer and Moderna, some of the biggest suppliers at the moment for Covid vaccines, have faced worldwide calls to share their technology and know-how of producing the vaccinations. Poorer countries in the world have fewer vaccine research or production facilities and therefore have much worse access to vaccinations.
The three most popular vaccines in the U.S. are Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. All three use different types of technologies. Moderna and Pfizer use RNA (mRNA) technology, which introduces Covid into the immune system by delivering instructions on how to produce the proteins.
Corbevax has an easy refrigeration process as well, requiring only standard refrigeration. This is a huge improvement from the Pfizer vaccine, which needs ultra-cold storage while it’s in transit.